Koeman happy with Saints' friendly opener

By SFC Media Wed 16 Jul First team

Ronald Koeman says he’s pleased with how Southampton performed in his first game as manager, as the side saw off Dutch lower-leaguers EHC Hoensbroek last night.

Koeman used different sides for each half of what was Saints’ first pre-season friendly, with Sam McQueen, Calum Chambers, Billy Sharp and Steven Davis netting in a 4-0 win.

And the new coach was happy with how his players fared on what was the third day of their overseas training camp.

“It’s not only the result that is important, but the way that we played,” Koeman told youtube.com/southamptonfc after the game.

“The instruction before the match was to play offensively with a lot of rotations in the midfield and with wing players.

“Every player played 45 minutes, and we said that we wanted them to press for 45 minutes – and I think we did that well.

“We had some good possibilities and we scored a great fourth goal through Steven Davis. 

“In general, I am happy with how the players did. Normally the result has to be eight- or nine-nil, but it was our first [friendly] and the first is always difficult for everybody.”

The squad is now back at its base across the border in Belgium, where they will face KSK Hasselt on Thursday.

And Koeman hopes that the good work of the past few days will continue into the second half of the training camp.

“You can see the group is growing up in a physical way and playing in the way we like to,” he said. 

“It’s always a tough week when you have a lot of training sessions and play two friendly matches, but we are very happy with how the players are acting. They are doing a professional job, and I am very happy about that.

“Now we are looking forward to Thursday, when we play our second game. We will finish this week well – and if we get back to Southampton without injuries, then that’s even better.”

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